NCAA Tournament: West Region Preview


If there were one bracket I would choose to say that will have the most upsets in this tournament it would be the West region.  I have seen Michigan state play enough to know that I can see them making it to New Orleans, and making an early exit in the tournament.  The Big Ten was a strong conference this year, and their style tends to play well in the NCAA.  For as much respect as I have for Tom Izzo and his six final four appearances I cannot get past this feeling that they are the number that I am not totally sold on even though i have them in the final four in my bracket.  Draymond Green is a player, but Digger Phelps loves him too much and that frightens me.   The Spartans are true to form as they play well together, defend and believe in their coach.  That plus a little luck can take you far in this wild and crazy tournament.  Missouri is the two seed in the region, and are supposed to be the eighth best team according to to the committee.  They based this on a poor out of conference schedule, and they must have had their eyes closed during Mizzu’s run in the big 12.  Frank Haith has done a brilliant job with this team and for those of you who have seen little of the tigers this year watch out because they may take this region by storm.

The rest of the region has some interesting teams that if they get on a roll could upset the top two seeds in this region. A number of the teams rely on the three point shot, and as many of readers have seen with Duke you live and die by the three ball.  Here are a couple of breakdowns between some of the early intriguing games in the West.

#7 Florida #10 Virginia  (West Region)
For Billy Donovan’s fast paced Florida team the guards will be tested by a tough Cavalier team that features First Team ALL-ACC selection Mike Scott.  If you have not had a chance to watch the big man then you will not want to miss this game.  With Florida being more perimeter oriented and ranking 135th in the country in rebounds slowing down Scott is going to be a tremendous task for the Gators.  Virginia can painfully drag you into a slower game and the battle between styles is what makes this tournament great.  If the games becomes a possession basketball game can Florida show the patience to wait for the good shot, or will their guards become frustrated hoisting up ill-advised threes early in the clock to speed up the game.  On the flip side if Florida jumps out to an early lead will the Cavaliers have enough offense to stay in the game.  These are interesting in game stories to watch in this first round match up.

#8 Memphis vs. #9 St. Louis

Rick Majerus brings the Bilikins back to the NCAA tournament to match up with young Coach Josh Pastner.  A contrast of coaching styles these two teams will get after it defensively.  Memphis has the talent to give MSU a run for the money the second game, but can they be discipline to get by St. Louis?  After watching Majerus’ Utah team take down an Antwan Jamison led North Carolina team in 1998 I have a hard time going against the wily veteran.  This game in my opinion will go down to the wire and free throw shooting will be the difference in the end.

As far as the rest of the region you might as well just throw darts or dice to pick your teas because regardless of seeding there are match up questions in about every game.  This bracket may be as unpredictable as what number I will throw next at the craps table, but either may there will be excitement and disappointment all rolled into on.

Check back after each day to catch updates on each round.

Let us know who you think will win the West.

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